Underwater 'blasts' recorded prior to Nord Stream leaks - GulfToday

Underwater 'blasts' recorded prior to Nord Stream leaks

Gas emanating from a leak on a Nord Stream gas pipeline in the Swedish economic zone in the Baltic Sea. AFP

Gulf Today Report

Two underwater explosions were recorded before the discovery of three leaks on the Nord Stream pipes connecting Russia and Europe, a Swedish seismological institute said as unexplained leaks raised suspicions of sabotage.

The Swedish National Seismic Network recorded two "massive energy releases" shortly before and near the location of the gas leaks off the Danish island of Bornholm, Peter Schmidt, a seismologist at Uppsala University, told reporters.

"The first was at 02:03 (0003 GMT) just southeast of Bornholm with a magnitude of 1.9. Then we also saw one at 7:04 pm on Monday evening, another event a little further north and which seems to have been a little bigger.

Our calculations show a magnitude of 2.3," Schmidt said.

“With such a release of energy, there is not much other than an explosion that could cause it,” he added.

Schmidt explained that because the releases were "very sudden" and not a "slow crash," the events were "in all likelihood some type of explosion."

The Norwegian Seismic Array (NORSAR) also confirmed recording "a smaller explosion" in the early hours of Monday, "followed by a more powerful one on Monday evening.

The Nord Stream 1 and 2 gas pipelines have been at the center of geopolitical tensions in recent months when Russia cut off gas supplies to Europe in alleged retaliation for Western sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine.

While the gas pipelines, managed by a consortium owned by the Russian gas giant Gazprom, are currently out of service, both still contain gas that has been leaking since Monday.

Photos taken by the Danish military on Tuesday showed large masses of bubbles on the surface of the water emanating from the leaks located in the economic zones of Sweden and Denmark, ranging from 200 to 1,000 meters (656 ft to 0.62 miles) in diameter.

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